Valve Must Take Greater Ownership Of Steam's Early Access Program

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by HardOCP News, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. HardOCP News

    HardOCP News [H] News

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    So what do you guys think of this opinion piece on Steam's Early Access Program. Do you think Valve needs to revamp its Early Access Program or do you think it is fine just the way it is?

    The issue here is Valve's unwillingness to take ownership. Historically Valve has been reluctant to exercise fine control over the systems it creates, or even to make public statements when problems occur. At different times this has been true of CS:GO, Steam Greenlight, and Steam's tagging system, for example. Even the Steam Controller's community-provided control schemes is an example of Valve's desire for Steam to run itself. That hands-off attitude has invited some bad behavior. We can't hold Valve responsible for every bad Early Access apple.
     
  2. twonunpackmule

    twonunpackmule [H]ard|Gawd

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    Steam is a delivery front. I don't think it's Valve's job to offer more than a means for a creator to sell product and a user to buy it. Reviews and Users are there to control it. They work for me. It's anarcho-capitalism.
     
  3. Aireoth

    Aireoth 2[H]4U

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    Wah wah wah, I want someone else to be responsible... My issue is with the author.

    Yes there are issues with Early access, but none of those issues are Steam's and without severely curtailing the accessibility of early access I don't see how Steam can have any influence. Perhaps the only intelligent thing he touches on is in paragraph 11 when he mentions one size fits all approach. A evolving classification of early access titles may be helpful and even warranted.

    other than that, it is a free market, caveat emptor.
     
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  4. chenw

    chenw 2[H]4U

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    Personally, I am fine with how Valve runs Steam in general.

    Early access is a combination of Kickstarter, Beta Access and a pre-order, so has weaknesses from all 3. If the author is concerned about Early Access, then I hope he has even bigger reservations about Kickstarter and Pre-orders, since both of those have similar problems to early access, except to a much greater degree (you could get absolutely nothing from Kickstarter, and there is often smaller hope of having problems fixed in a flawed 'final' game).

    I have bought 1 Early access game, which I did so as, at the time, the state of the game was worth the money, even if the developers immediately abandoned its development (Grim Dawn), and I am pretty satisfied with the game as a whole.

    Other than that, I treat Early Access as a beta test that you have to pay in, buy it only when either you know the game studio and trust it, or if the state of the game is worth the money already at the state it is.
     
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  5. alxlwson

    alxlwson You Know Where I Live

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    I have a small issue with early access.
    Just look at the condition that Ark is in, and they already have paid dlc.
     
  6. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I just do not buy early access games until they are done. Some of them have been early access for seemingly forever. Early access is just another fancy word for preorder. You just get to play a buggy unfinished version of the game until they (maybe) get around to finishing it.
    As long as the big light blue "Early Access" warning/explanation box that crosses the page remains above the "buy" button, I am fine with how Steam is handling this.

    Edit: Though I would like to be able to check a box and not have "early access" titles show up on my store front page, or in searches .... I am not interested so I would rather they be kept out of my face if/until they are finished.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
  7. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment [H]ard as it Gets

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    So, dont buy the DLC content and vote with your wallet...hows is this Valve problem people are willing to throw money at things that don't yet exist or are not as promised
     
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  8. Kwaz

    Kwaz Whine & Cheezy

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    I feel like people should be able to get a refund at any time during a game's early access period and for 24 hours of play time for the final game.

    Similarly to how SCEA (Sony Playstation) where a game's gold master must go through a QA process and generally functionality tests to be published, Valve should do the same.

    I also think that no game should have an early access period greater than one year. And no DLC or additional purchases (collector's edition, etc) should be allowed during the early access period. If at any point during your early access period your review score gets too low, you are investigated and if valid you are booted from the program and refunds are distributed to all who purchased.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
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  9. yourgrandma

    yourgrandma [H]ard|Gawd

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    Valve has started a horrible trend. Time and time again i see developers almost completely cease development as soon as they get their $$$$. There is zero incentive for them to continue as there is no punishment if they don't. IMO you should be able to get a refund anytime during early access no matter how much time you've spent playing or how long you've owned it.

    Just look at all these failures and deceptive practices with no action from valve.

    Steam Curator: Early Access Guidelines
     
  10. Jim Kim

    Jim Kim 2[H]4U

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    To the buyer beware.
    Way too many folks think they are buying a soon to be finished game and/or fail to research anything about the game, then they bitch and moan as time goes by.
    I see it all the time in the Black Mesa forums where people have heard about the Half Life remake and think the modds timeline somehow has something to do with the Early Access game. Time Line - Black Mesa. PS, it doesn't.
     
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  11. alxlwson

    alxlwson You Know Where I Live

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    I just think that early access games need to have a stated "estimated gold" date listed. Otherwise, a game could stay in early access forever, and never have to be supported.

    Should have a refund option available that lasts until say, the last three months of estimated development.
     
  12. -=SOF=-WID99

    -=SOF=-WID99 Limp Gawd

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    Caveat emptor
    wait till a game or a piece of software is out / released ..no one said you have to have it NOW or early

    if ya wanna risk your game dollars on a new game ya like ... do so .. but ya can't complain if it fails to sell ..or sucks

    and NEVER PRE- ORDER
     
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  13. crusty_juggler

    crusty_juggler [H]ard|Gawd

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    Valve is bad for PC gaming.
     
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  14. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    That might not be too bad. But that would still require a lot of time/$$$ in oversight, or devs could just lie.
     
  15. WarriorX

    WarriorX [H]ard|Gawd

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    The only thing Valve should do is prevent Early Access games from releasing payed DLC. Kinda like what ARK did when they released a $20 map DLC. Yes it took work and the devs should be paid...but release the base game first before trying to ask for more money.
     
  16. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

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    They want an early access program. Fine. Let it be free. In fact require it to be free. Until a finished retail game/app ships you can't charge for it. You can get people to play your demo's and give feedback and get people involved that way but exchanging money for promises is bunk.

    Now if you feel like donating before release, then donate. You get a credit when the game is released. That releases Steam from the liability and responsibility since they are just a store. That also maybe has a team somewhere working on a game. ;)

    My 2 pence.
     
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  17. Twisted Kidney

    Twisted Kidney 2[H]4U

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    People who buy into early access are fools as far as I'm concerned so I pretty much agree with you. The problem is that Valve isn't just the delivery mechanism, they take a cut. Once you're taking a profit on something that turns out to be a scam things can get a little muddy. Plus I think it behoves Valve to try to not be the vector for sleaze-balls to sell garbage, at least from a PR standpoint.
     
  18. Semantics

    Semantics 2[H]4U

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    Early access from valve has a couple issues. One it's any price for early access and valve has no system of punishing developers for not following through in actually releasing a "completed" product. Valve should cap the early access price to just be 5 or less dollars like a pre-order but early access is just a preview of the game, if devs want to charge more they'd need to actually release the game and the EA price is taken out of the total for those who bought EA. This ofc probably needs to be even lower closer to 1 dollar some games just don't fit lowering the EA price to be a disincentive for being a shitty publisher.

    Valve is responsible because they just don't deliver the content they prop it up with reviews, community and advertisement on their store front. If storefronts don't hold responsibility for what they sell then walmart and target would be selling XXX films and AO games, some of these games only excit in steam's storefront in which case it's closer to steam being the publisher far from being just a 3rd party in the situation.
     
  19. DarkStar_WNY

    DarkStar_WNY 2[H]4U

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    Would we accept this from any other store?

    If you bought a TV from Walmart and got it home and it didn't work, would you just say "It's not Walmart's fault, so I'll contact the manufacturer?


    Exactly!
     
  20. azuza001

    azuza001 Gawd

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    I agree. As much as I would love to say valve is just a delivery system it's on them to take part responsibility to make sure that what is promised is delivered since they are taking a part of the cut.

    Still sometimes it isn't their fault. For every Company who is doing it for the right reasons, there are 10 doing it for the wrong ones.
     
  21. DarkStar_WNY

    DarkStar_WNY 2[H]4U

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    And that's the rub, it would be one thing if those doing it wrong were few and far between but when their entire storefront is constantly flooded with known crap and they do nothing they have become part of the problem.
     
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  22. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    As soon as they restrict things too much or make it a pain for devs, you start to open doors to competition. People hate having multiple launch clients as is.

    As far as who brought up ARK, I agree. I love the game and have a great time and my moneys worth, but have not bought any dlc as I do not want to reward a system that sells additional content before 'releasing' the game.
     
  23. krotch

    krotch [H]ardness Supreme

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    Get rid of it. Valve has a storefront. Stores sell a completed product, not unfinished products. I don't go into Walmart and pick up a shirt that has a sleeve and collar missing and wait an unknown set amount of time for them to sew on a sleeve and that collar.

    It's a ridiculous portion of Steam and one I don't bother with. Early Access = never finished
     
  24. nomu

    nomu Gawd

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    I don't get it. They don't curate the storefront. Why curate Early Access? It began life as a warning label, and customers turned it into a legitimate channel. So it seems like balance of failures and successes is what determines what reputation it needs to have.

    What's the point of having an enforcement system for Early Access and not for the storefront?
     
  25. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I don't care what they do with early access. I won't pay for the privilege of beta/alpha testing the game for the developers. So I completely ignore every early access title. I refuse to even look at them. Call me when you have a finished product.
    That said since they introduced the queue system I don't look at the steam store at all either way.
     
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  26. spigias

    spigias n00b

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    My good man! Grim dawn is not abandoned they have finished the game, released a dlc and we are are expecting v1.0.0.6 early-October. this game is the reason why EA games should exist(plus some others like kerbal's,darkest dungeon,zomboid...)

    rules is what we need the most, like not releasing a paid dlc when a game is on ea state, i am looking at you ark.
     
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  27. spigias

    spigias n00b

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    I totally respect that. But some of us are buying EA games because they have good balance between price and content. Also if the game gets released its a good investment.
     
  28. chenw

    chenw 2[H]4U

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    That wasn't actually my point, I wasn't claiming or even trying to claim that Grim Dawn was abandoned.

    My point was, at the time I actually bought into Grim Dawn, the game was in a state that even if the guys behind Grim Dawn had immediately abandoned the game's development, the game would still have been worth the money I paid for it.

    That was my train of thought at the time, I know that the game is officially finished and has the Crucible DLC.
     
  29. emphy

    emphy Limp Gawd

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    Valve does take a rather big cut of the sales - much more than a simple delivery front. I would expect them to perform at least retail level of technical quality control, even for early access titles.

    It has gotten to the point that I simply have stopped buying anything at steam
     
  30. ChoGGi

    ChoGGi [H]ard|Gawd

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    If you install Enhanced Steam, then you can hide them with:
    .es_early_access{display:none}
    Though you will need an extension that will allow you to apply css to websites (Stylish), and make sure "Show Early Access image banners" is selected in ES's options.




    Early access isn't so bad, Greenlight on the other hand...
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  31. Armenius

    Armenius I Drive Myself to the [H]ospital

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    I haven't casually browsed the store since the redesign, either. Apparently it was supposed to give more exposure to smaller developers, but it had the opposite effect on me. Now I just do a search to go directly to what I want and check SteamDB for what sales are going on. They keep saying that it has had it's intended effect by getting more page views for certain games, but what I want to know is how many of those views were converted to a sale.
     
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  32. M76

    M76 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I used to buy from steam regularly. Now I only buy games trough greenmangaming or cdkeys. I used to drop 100s during holiday and summer sales, since the redesign I purchased next to nothing even during sales. But if they say it worked out for the best, then that's all right. The best for me now is not to use the steam store.
     
  33. Semantics

    Semantics 2[H]4U

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    They do curate the storefront... they often remove broken games from their storefront without the publishers/developers consent.

    Steam doesn't seem to care about actual content of the game thus the porn games on steam but unplayable games are often removed. Allowing broken and uncompleted games on steam just because you slap EA isn't enough of a warning, especially since steam doesn't restrict the sale price of EA. So devs can change full price for a uncompleted game people expect that with that full price you'll eventually get a completed game. That's why it's called Early Access it's a promise of a completed work it's not beta/alpha testing access it's early access.

    Change Early to Beta access, limit the sale price, change the store to reward those who bought beta access to a game at developer's discretion.

    People are no longer tricked into thinking they're buying a completed game...eventually. Devs can't use EA as a means of "kickstarting" their project. Valve isn't kickstarter and shouldn't be acting as one. If they want to act as one that's what Greenlight could be used for.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  34. twonunpackmule

    twonunpackmule [H]ard|Gawd

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    If the rules of the store are printed on the wall, then I wouldn't care. I consider Steam more like a Flea Market, than a standard brick and mortar store. Where prices are controlled locally and can fluctuate. This allows product to move at low cost because overhead is nonexistent and its community regulated.

    We are also dealing with "licenses" not physical product. Thus, apples and oranges.

    Before they implemented refunds, I might have given you this.
     
  35. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    Closer I think would be if you purchased a protoype tv from walmart under the agreement that it is not a final product and will not perform or contain the specs of the final version. Then yelling at walmart for selling you a tv where the specs changed at release.

    Just trying to be funny but I think there should be some kind of backlash for this type of misleading marketting. I know it happens often but how long do we let it go on? Advertise me a game with gears of war graphics but on launch looks like wolfenstein 3d with a different plot?
     
  36. twonunpackmule

    twonunpackmule [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have seemed to avoided all this "misleading marketing" since Steam started selling software. So, I have no clue how people are getting swindled. I can only suggest that maybe you research more into what you're buying. Google is just a click away.

    If anyone is wondering, I "own" like 1000 games on Steam.
     
  37. Nukester

    Nukester [H]ard|Gawd

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    It's not fine because these "early access" games aren't really early access. They are about the best the company has to offer, so this is a retail release to make money.
     
  38. MrWrong

    MrWrong [H]ard|Gawd

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    The solution to Early Access is easy, stop buying them. If no one buys them game developers will stop putting them out. The reason there are so many out now it because people are eating them up like candy. Me personally I don't have a problem with how valve is handling early access titles. I refuse to support the whole concept of early access and simply avoid buying anything that is in early access. I don't care what the game is and how good it is I will wait for the actual release to buy it.
     
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  39. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    If people don't buy early access titles, they will go away on their own. If enough people are interested enough to pay for unfinished products, then they will be around for a while yet.
    Early access may have a place. Some of these games may end up pretty good, and may not have been made without early access. At the same time, some of them are simply not going to ever be finished. As long as that reality is communicated, we have an informed choice on whether to support the model or not. I just do not see the issue with it for people able to read and understand the below warning that appears prominently above the buy button on every early access title.

     
  40. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    The sucky part is when you buy into early access, if the game is fun, by the time it releases you are already tired of it and then your friends that buy it play without you.